One day, while Mr. Sato was off-duty, he was doing some shopping around Nakano Broadway in Tokyo. This shopping plaza is sometimes called a “mecca of subculture” for its various stores peddling old books and figures. Of course, Nakano Broadway has many other shops including grocery and household item stores.

In particular, the first floor is filled with women’s clothing shops selling items at rock-bottom prices. On a complete whim Mr. Sato steered into one shop boasting every item for only 575 yen (US$5.60). As if guided by a mysterious force, Mr. Sato entered this store. Little did he know that he was being guided… by the god of rock.

■ “Everything 575 yen”

Mr. Sato was in disbelief at his own actions thinking to himself, “How could this place for old ladies have anything of interest to me?” Still, as if possessed, he passed through the threshold. Looking around a new thought entered his mind: “These can’t be lady clothes, can they?!”

All around him were psychedelic patterns sometimes chaotically splattered like a Jackson Pollack painting and yet sometimes rigidly organized like a Jackson Pollack Lego Gas Station. To Mr. Sato’s left were a pair of yellow stretchy pants with a dense geometric pattern printed all over, but the greatest find was a sleeveless shirt with skulls and roses drawn all over.

He stood there for a moment, mouth slightly agape, and then muttered to himself, “I get it now. It all makes sense…”


Back in the heyday of what some scholars call “hair metal,” there were legions of artists to choose from. They all had their gimmicks from The Party Animal fighting off ladies with sticks to The Satanic Wizards clutching the dragon scepter to whatever Yngwie Malmsteen’s deal was. Despite their unique characters they all had one unifying factor: their look of big hair and flamboyant clothes.

Even their music often teetered between hard rock and heavy metal. In Japan especially, people got tired of trying to distinguish between the two and came up with the genre “hard rock heavy metal” shortened to “HRHM.”

Although now largely an archaic musical form, one great mystery of HRHM persists: Where did they get those clothes? Everyone knew to make it in HRHM means to have an outlandishly excessive outfit but those found in designer boutiques are far too expensive for the average up-and-coming rocker. So how did David Lee Roth get his purple stretch pants and sun hat before becoming the David Lee Roth?

■ Warm August Snow

“This is where Cinderella, Whitesnake, Winger, and the Crue first got their stage costumes…” thought Mr. Sato amazed at what he had just found. Indeed fate had brought him to the very source of rock music – a Japanese women’s bargain shop.

It was at this point that Mr. Sato realized that it wasn’t him who had found the source of rock, rather it found him. It was time for him to become an HRHM star. He picked out some matching items and headed back to the office to try them on.

First he tried on the yellow geometric stretch pants and some yellow low-cut T-shirts. He then completed the look with a Wonder Woman tiara and cat-paw imitation Crocs that are left around the office in case of emergency. Immediately he could feel the spirit of rock pulse through his body and grow…

And grow…

And grow…

He felt for sure this was how Stryper must have started out. That outfit was great for his hard-rocking party anthems, but everyone knows the key to HRHM success is the tender ballad. It’s a radio-friendly way to show the artist’s gentler side underneath all that macho make-up and glitter. For this, Mr. Sato picked out the skull and roses shirt. The imagery on the blouse represents the struggle of good and evil that goes on in his tortured poetic soul.

And so, Mr. Sato’s debut album featuring the tracks “Party in the Men’s Room,” “Talking Dirty to Professor Feelgood,” and the single “Warm August Snow” will go on sale as soon as he finds other band members. It turns out it’s surprisingly difficult to find people who want to be in a non-ironic hair metal band in 2014.

Original article by Mr. Sato
Photos: RocketNews24

Mr. Sato felt the crotch of the pants were unusually tight. It may have been the power of rock, or because they were ladies’ pants.

[ Read in Japanese ]